Growing up with mainly cousins around. Even when I started school my main playmates were my cousins. Phyllis was two years older, Charlotte was one year older and Nellie was one year younger. We played with our dolls and with our paper dolls. We played hopscotch, jump rope, and jacks.
Aunt Wanda organized 4H groups. We learned to sew and cook. We went to 4H Camp at Duck Creek up on Cedar Mountain. Aunt Wanda really was an amazing organizer.
We begged our Mothers to let us sell lemonade or homemade root beer. But of course the big entrepreneurial profits did not materialize. Aunt Wanda did not supply the needed ingredients without requiring us to pay for them out of our proceeds. Early lessons in deficit spending.
We would walk to the downtown area to go to the Saturday Matinee or the library. Or if we had a little money we would walk downtown to the 5 & Dime or Woolworth’s.
Since we lived on the edge of town sometimes we would pack a small lunch and go for a hike in the hills west of town.
We would go en mass trick or treating on Halloween. The elementary school we attended was on the same block as the Jr. High and High School so once again we would all walk en mass to school.
As we grew older we would organize summer story times with the younger neighborhood children. We would play games with them and have snacks.
In the evenings we would have neighborhood games, “kick the can” and “war” Our large front porch was usually the safe zone. Since we lived on a dead end street we could play baseball and other street games.
Many summer evenings were spent with “sleeping out” parties. Our street was really on the edge of town, with very little traffic and few street lights, we could see all the stars. It was always surprising to me how it could be so hot during the day and then by morning we would be freezing and anxious to get back into the house and into our warm beds.
One of our neighbors had a movie camera and projector. A few times he would set up a screen outside and we would all gather and watch home movies and sometimes “real” movies and cartoons. That was a real treat.
In the winter if there was a good snow there would be winter games. We lived near a street that had a long hill and sledding was wonderful if the snow was packed enough and not too many rocks. Sometimes we could talk our parents into taking us up the canyon to take advantage of the snow and hills. Sleds and inner tubes were highly prized.
As we grew older and our various interests changed and our circle of friends grew, we became less dependent on each other for companionship. Phyllis and Charlotte graduated from High School and went on to College. By then we were traveling in different circles. A boy I dated few times ended up marrying my cousin Charlotte. They have had a wonderful life together.
We have all taken different roads. Our childhood homes are all gone. Even the street we lived and played on is gone, turned into a parking lot. Now when ever I go back to that place I can still hear the voices and see the images of kids and families, fun and laughter, angry words and tears. All a part of the world of growing up and forming our lives. All the “Adults” in our lives have gone to join their Father in Heaven. Even some of our siblings have moved on. We still see and visit with each other on special occasions but those are few and far between. It is strange how some families remain so close and others kind of drift apart. When we do see each other our talks are mostly about the “Olden Days” the days when we were young and free from the earthly cares that weigh us down today. Maybe that is the way it should be. Enjoy our shared memories, our laughs and the fun times. Times when the future was bright and we loved each day and each other.